Published Jun 13, 2014If, as the theme song to the TV show Portlandia claims, "The dream of the '90s is alive in Portland," the new double-album by Portland band Sassparilla is proof. The band sound like a mash-up of various '90s acts, the sort of band that might have cut their teeth covering Dave Matthews Band or Red Hot Chili Peppers songs. Even the tandem release of studio album Pasajero and live-off-the-floor album Hullabaloo is a throwback to an era when music fans cherished double albums.
Pasajero isn't a jam band record, but it should appeal to fans of the genre. While Deadheads may perk up at the title of the second track, "Dark Star" is actually more of a Pink Floyd-esque number, while "When You're The Devil" is clearly meant to sound like the Doors. "Cool Thing" is a good song, and far more suited to Kevin Blackwell's disaffected singing style than some of the other material, but ultimately, every track on the record sounds like an homage to something you've heard before.
Hullabaloo captures Sassparilla's party-band side, and while they pour their hearts into raucous numbers like "Cocaine" and "It Ain't Easy," the best moments are to be found in mellower songs like "Folks Like Us," and "Wicked Take Care of Their Own." (Fluff and Gravy)